The drive to have something new is a powerful force, but it’s also one that can create significant challenges in a business if it is not refined into a specific business reason with doable phases and accomplishments. Interestingly, the ability to have a new information system and replace and old database or ERP network is the number one reason why companies engage in new ERP projects. The second and third reasons are business and profit improvement as well as information integration across the entire company, respectively.
While the above are generally acceptable reasons, and shared by the majority of ERP project consumers, they need to be attached to very specific goals and tasks to be reached. While big targets are easy to put into a few words, getting there can sometimes feel like climbing a proverbial Mount Everest.
One of the key aspects of good ERP planning, aside from thoroughly mapping out where a company is today, is to clearly define what is desired with a new technology. Just because its the new shiny object in the window is never a good enough reason to start an ERP venture. Instead, all the pros and cons currently known need to be put together in a detailed but concise cost/benefit analysis. This becomes the foundation of the project road map later on. What a company might find in doing so is that while a new ERP system is a good idea, the immediate moment may not be the best timing. That’s alright. It’s far better to plan and move with good intelligence than to barge into a new, giant IT transformation blind.
The benefits of a well-planned and solidly built ERP system are multiple. Companies with successful builds include availability of information, increased integration and interaction among programs, and improved data reliability as the three top takeaways based on their survey answers. Note that improved profit-making it is not the biggest win, nor should it be. The primary focus is to make the organization work better. The successes in core functions will come naturally as a result. ERP is not an overnight magic potion for revenue boosts, so that shouldn’t be the driver for implementation. It is an investment infrastructure the same way that better tooling is an investment for a factory assembly line. By assuring that the entire company system is running at its most efficient level, energy can be spent on market share growth, new development, and competitiveness. However, these things only manifest when the information inside the company is both reachable and usable. That’s where a good ERP implementation pays back dividends.
So what’s your reason for considering ERP? If it’s just to boost sales, think bigger. Think holistically, and you will find that a properly focused ERP investment can change your entire company world.